President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday pledged to bequeath ‘a citizens-led policing system’ to the nation, declaring that his administration has demonstrated firm commitment towards changing the principle and strategy of policing in Nigeria.
He made the promise while addressing the passing out parade of 418 officers of the 3rd Regular Cadet Course at the Nigeria Police Academy in Kano, where he explained his directive to the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission on the upward review of police emoluments.
President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, said a citizens-led policing system informed the approval for the adoption of community policing as the internal security strategy of the country, as well as the approval of funds to support the implementation process.
On the revised salary and allowances for the Nigeria Police, he said it would be commensurate with the vital functions they perform as the lead agency in internal security assets.
The President noted that the police reform initiative, embarked upon by his administration, had focused on improving the welfare of the force, recruitment of 10,000 junior police officers annually, investing in the upgrade of facilities at the Nigeria Police Academy and other police training institutions in the country, among others.
“In addition, a Nigeria Police Academy (Establishment) Bill is currently receiving legislative attention at the National Assembly. On passage, the bill will give full legal backing to the existence and academic programmes of the Nigeria Police Academy and fully legitimise its status as a Police University,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina.
President Buhari added, “Furthermore, as part of our police reform initiatives, the Police Public Complaint Committee, which is domiciled in the Ministry of Police Affairs, has been resuscitated with the mandate to receive complaints from the general public on cases of abuse and maltreatment by police officers. The PPCC has a membership made up of officials from relevant MDAs and security agencies.
”A Public Private Partnership arrangement undertaken by the Ministry of Police Affairs to rejuvenate the National Public Security Communication System Network has been approved by the Federal Executive Council; this is with a view to ensuring that when fully reactivated, the police and other security agencies will be able to fully utilise this vital facility.”
The President’s address at the occasion highlighted ‘well-thought-out reform programmes’ by his administration to modernise and reposition the Nigeria Police to meet the aspirations of the citizens, as well as to manage current and evolving threats in the most efficient and professional manner.
“In order to address the funding challenges of the Force, I also assented to the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Bill on 24th June 2019 and followed up with the inauguration of the Board of Trustees to ensure immediate take-off of the Fund.
“I am being constantly briefed by the Honourable Minister of Police Affairs on the activities of the Trust Fund and I am delighted to note that already, critical operational items including purpose-built operational vehicles and other policing assets are currently being delivered through the intervention of the Trust Fund,” he said.
According to President Buhari, with the sustained intervention of the trust fund, the operational efficiency and human capacity development goals of the police will be attained on a sustainable basis and by extension, the internal security order will be enhanced in due course.
In light of the several reforms, the President charged the young officers that the task of advancing major police responsibilities would fall on their shoulders in due course.
He also urged the newly commissioned 418 cadet officers, who are now Assistant Superintendents of Police, to be guided by the fact that their conduct on the field would be constantly scrutinised and they would be held personally accountable for their actions.
“You should remain good ambassadors of the Nigeria Police and demonstrate respect to civil society in discharging your duties, while also maintaining zero tolerance for corruption.
“To the Commandant and other staff of the Academy, I commend you for your dedication to duty which has ensured the proper indoctrination of these young officers, as well as occasioned today’s successful Passing Out Parade,” the President said.
In his remarks, the Commandant of the Academy, Lawal Jimeta, said the passing out ceremony was the third edition since the Academy was upgraded into a university, adding that no fewer than 1,000 well-trained officers have graduated from the institution.
He thanked the President for the unflinching support to the Academy, noting that 15 degree programmes have been successfully accredited by the National University Commission in two years.